I’m an OBGYN and I practice at a jail, where I take care of incarcerated women.
People often ask me, how did you come to work with incarcerated women? I was in the middle of my first year residency, delivering a baby. Everything was very familiar about the delivery scene; the nervousness, wondering if everything was going to be okay, helping the woman to push. But the one thing that was different is that she was shackled to the bed; she was a prisoner. And that moment troubled me so deeply that I developed an interest in learning more about these women.
Women make up a much smaller proportion of the correctional population than men — about 9% of everyone who is incarcerated. And 62% of [those] women are mothers to children who are less than 18 years old. Because women comprise such a small proportion, their gender-specific needs have been neglected. That’s particularly salient when it comes to their healthcare.
In theory, women do have the choice to have an abortion if they learn they are pregnant when they are in prison. There are constitutional guarantees — the 8th and the 14th amendments — and a number of judicial precedents, so it’s very clear that incarcerated women should have access to abortion. However, in practice, the people who are making the decisions have incredible discretion and many women lack access to abortion if they choose it.
About 1400-2000 births occur every year to women who are behind bars, and what they get for prenatal care is highly variable. There are standards that require prisons to have prenatal care onsite, but on the ground, some women have to be transported offsite and some women don’t even get prenatal care.
In labor, they usually get transported to an outside hospital. They can’t have any family support members in the room, and only 15 states have laws restricting the shackling of women in labor and delivery. A woman in labor, shackled, is what inspired me to work with this population. It’s inhumane and unnecessary, and it poses a lot of medical risks to the mother and the fetus. It also interferes with our ability to do emergent interventions if necessary.
People think prisons and jails are far away and we forget about the people who get locked up inside; we think they have nothing to do with us. So I hope I’ve given you some things to consider about what it’s like to be a woman when you’re in the grip of the prison or jail system.
From Dr. Carolyn Sufrin’s talk on incarcerated women and reproductive healthcare. Filmed at TEDxInnerSunset.
No one filed a challenge by Monday’s deadline to the more than 315,000 signatures turned in to the Secretary of State that would prohibit abortion coverage to be included in standard insurance policies.
What this means is that YOUR health insurance, even if it’s private insurance, would require you to buy a separate rider to cover abortion, and you can’t buy it after you’re pregnant, you have to buy it ahead of time. So if you even think that someday you might be faced with that choice and want your insurance to cover it, you have to buy separate coverage for it now.
THIS COULD PASS EASILY. Most of the legislative houses signed this petition, and Gov. Snyder who, for all his faults, has been generally friendly to pro-choice issues, cannot veto it.
The best we can do now is push the legislature to make it a public ballot issue rather than letting it be decided by the 4.2% of Michigan voters who signed the petition, which was sponsored by Right to Life.
If you’re a Michigan resident and would like to contact your representative and tell them what you think of this so-called “rape insurance” plan, you can do so here,
I can’t even wrap my head around how wrongheaded this is.
White feminism is “Miley can dress however she wants, don’t slut shame her”
Actual feminism is “Miley can dress however she wants but she crossed a line when she started using another culture as a means to rebel and utilized black women and little people as shocking accessories in her music videos and live performances”
“Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.”—Kait Rokowski (A Good Day)
“I knew my head and heart were bound to collide.
Now nothing seems true.
My stomach’s in my shoes but I’m not wearing any.
Your duplicity is stuck to the walls of my chest like tar
and I’m disgusted by the sight of it.
I’ve got all these words who’s jagged edges catch on the tip of my tongue.
Left with such bitterness I still can’t bare to aim towards you.
Maybe I’m a liar too…
For letting everything you deserve to hear dissolve.”—I hope you read this. (via angelic-hipster-mermaid-santa69)
“I do all the things you used to hate. I dye my hair colors that make the church ladies stare. I go to bed without dinner and subside entirely on air. I make tea and pour cream in after. I give up reading. I give up The Beatles. I never eat another plate of scrambled eggs. I shape myself into someone you would dislike. My speech sharpens. My teeth turn to fangs. I let go of the softness that drew you to me. My fingernails itch to become claws and I don’t fight it. This is what it takes to survive. I let people into my bed that I would have walked right past with you. He is sad-eyed and needs my flimsy paper wrists to support him. I pour every late night with you into him, until he says, ‘I love you, I love you’ and I say, ‘Shh, you’ll ruin the fun.’ I do what it takes to forget you, and at the end, have more bruises than the ones I started with, but I can finally look at a sunset and not feel anything at all.”—
I Practice Death To Forget You | Lora Mathis (via soggypoetry)